Total Controlbook89
High Performance Street Riding Tips

by Lee Parks
159 pages, $24.95
Motorbooks International, copyright 2003

by Sev Pearman

There are a great many riders who want more than is offered in an MSF Experienced Rider Course® but do not want the commitment, expense or hassle of arranging track time. Author Lee Parks has written a book for just that rider. In Total Control, you will learn how to take control of your machine, perfect your (riding) form and technique, and ride faster and safer than ever before.

Mr. Parks has raced motorcycles since he was 14, is former editor of Motorcycle Consumer News magazine, created and teaches his Advanced Riding Clinics and produces his own line of motorcycle gloves. Frustrated with this gap in rider training, he set out to apply precision track skills to high performance street riding. Total Control is the result of his efforts.

The author divides the book into five sections. Part One covers the chassis dynamics of traction, steering and suspension. Mr. Parks writes in plain English, free of quantum physics and dude-speak. He de-mystifies the physics behind motorcycle operation and how it applies to your own riding habits. The chapter on suspension is clear and easy to understand. He thankfully de-bunks many suspension myths.

Part Two deals with the mental dynamics of fear, concentration and attitude. Mr. Parks shows how managing your fear, combined with complete presence of mind and good attitude, permits you to learn faster and increase your confidence.

Part Three is the heart of the book. Mr. Parks presents sections on throttle control, shifting and braking. He separates these specific tasks into discreet elements guided by principles. These principles are applied through riding lessons that can be easily set up in any parking lot. Riding exercises build upon each other and the applied skills are incorporated into subsequent drills. This building-block technique boosts success and prevents information overload.

The riding exercises in Total Control are supported with diagrams, graphs and photos. The author cleverly includes many makes and models of bikes. No matter what you ride, you are likely to see yourself in one of the photos. It is a subtle motivator. The pictures that show correct and poor rider form particularly impressed us. While the differences are subtle, Mr. Parks reveals details that escaped my practiced eye.

This is a dynamite riding book and the only tome that addresses the needs of the high performance street rider. Whether you ride a sportbike, tourer or cruiser, no matter your riding style, you will become a better, more proficient rider. Total Control cuts a perfect corner on four out of four cylinders.

Verdict:
Newbie—When the student is ready, the master appears.

Mr. Know-It-All—“You can’t handle the truth!”

Wing Pilot—Start scraping pegs on that GL-1800


MMM welcomes your ideas for future book reviews. Send your suggestions to: mnmc@comcast.net Please put “Book Review” in the subject heading.

M.M.M.

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